Foods to help collagen production
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and whilst we may instantly think of skin when we think of collagen, it is also an integral component in bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, hair, nails, blood vessels, the gut lining and connective tissue.
Research indicates that by the age of 40, the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases by 25%. By age 60, it has decreased by over a whopping 50%!
To make healthy collagen we need to ensure we are feeding ourselves with the necessary nutrients our bodies need to make collagen. As we age we may not absorb or process nutrients as effectively therefore ensuring we are getting enough protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants as we age is important.
When we make collagen our bodies require a combination of amino acids from eating protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy. The collagen production process also requires vitamin C and the minerals zinc, iron and copper.
Foods that may help with healthy collagen production
Vitamin C - Vitamin C is required for the hydroxylation of collagen to provide extracellular stability and support. Include berries, citrus, capsicum, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli and greens.
Amino acids Lysine, Glycine and Proline form the building blocks of collagen – Include marine collagen, fish, tofu, legumes, eggs, dairy and wholegrains.
Copper – Copper activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase which is required for collagen maturation. Lysyl oxidase cross-links collagen fibres to help form the scaffold that supports your tissues. Include dark chocolate, lentils, leafy greens, oysters, crab and sunflower seeds.
Zinc – Zinc is a co-factor for collagen production, which means that it helps to activate the amino acids essential for collagen synthesis. Include oysters, poultry, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds.
Iron - Iron rich foods include animal proteins and organ meats like liver, kidneys, red meat, and shellfish. There are plant-based sources of iron which include spinach, legumes, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, molasses, broccoli, tahini, and tofu.
Collagen production diminishes in response to the natural ageing process of the body. Collagen and elastin fibres within our bodies also begin to reduce flexibility over time and can become stiffer. The acceleration of this can be influenced by factors such as poor diet, stress, high blood sugar and excess alcohol. The decline of collagen production can start as early as our thirties and progressively worsen due to general aging and diminished nutrient absorption. Including marine collagen peptides daily can help to stimulate the fibroblast cells to produce collagen, elastin and hylauronic acid thereby helping with skin firmness, elasticity and hydration.